Croma, the Electronics Megastore of the Tata Group, has launched its online store, www.cromaretail.com, with many features and functionalities. Launched in Mumbai in October 2006, Croma is part of Infiniti Retail Ltd., a 100% subsidiary of Tata Sons. The company has a large offline presence across the country and operates over 70 stores with revenues in excess of Rs. 1,500 Crores in 2011.
Infiniti Retail has a sourcing agreement with the Australian retail giant, Woolworths, under which, Infiniti Retail owns and runs retail operations in India while Woolworths provides technical support and sourcing facilities through its global network.
Infiniti Retail is headed by Ajit Joshi, who has been the CEO and MD of the company since April 2006 and has earlier worked at Shoppers Stop and The Central Park. Ajit holds a degree from the Melbourne School of Business and Les Roches School of Hotel Management, Switzerland.
Croma Retail offers more than 6000 products over 18 brands under 8 categories, such as, home entertainment, cameras and gaming, among others. The company offer free delivery within 7 days of purchase across India through reputed courier service providers, such as, Blue Dart, Aramex, DIESL etc.
There is a 15-day return and replacement policy with refunds transferred back to the consumers account within 3 working days. What is interesting though, is that Croma seems to be keeping its billing, inventory and logistics separate for its online and offline formats, as consumers do not have the option of returning items purchased online, at the offline store as also not being able to pick up products ordered online directly from the store by themselves.
For payments, the consumers have the option to pay through a Credit Card, Debit Card, Net Banking or a 3-to-12 month EMI option on ICICI or HDFC Bank Credit Cards.
The website has been developed with certain unique features such as User Buying Guides for many product categories, such as Phones, Tablets, Laptops, etc. which offer basic understanding of a product, its features and uses, as well as key components. The website also has expert advice from Rajiv Makhni, Managing Editor, Technology at NDTV.
The website is powered by Interface Business Solutions, which has Tata DoCoMo and Samsung as some of its other key clients and had bagged 10 awards at the recently concluded Indian Digital Media Awards 2012.
Overall, the move reassures faith in the online format as more and more large format retailers move towards a multi-channel format realising the benefits of synergised operations and increased revenue, both from increased sales through the website as well as ad revenues on their online sites. Retailers across categories, both established and smaller ones, have started to embrace the online channel such as Woodland, Liberty Shoes, GKB Opticals etc.
The trend is only expected to get stronger as reports by all major research and advisory firms signal towards the growth and rising share of the online retail market in India, such as Forrester Research Inc., FICCI and Boston Consulting Group.